The design of any automation system strives to minimize capital and operational costs as well as floor space and maximize throughput, yield and product variety. There are typically multiple constraints such as limited footprint, a limited budget, and the protocol-specific constraints (i.e. timing, reaction conditions and environmental condition constraints). Such multi-objective optimization problem is large-scale thus often requiring computer-aided design.
Automation plays an increasing role in Life Sciences and especially in Biotechnology. With advances in automation, the human genome and other genomes have been sequenced. Modern Molecular Biology and Biotechnology have contributed to new assays that, whenever automated, provide more accurate and rapid large amounts of information. Similarly, the pharmaceutical industry is heavily dependent on automation, especially as it shifts from products that treat diseases, to analytical methods that detect and classify diseases. Automation for the Life Sciences includes fluid handling and assay processing, high-throughput screening and drug discovery, high-throughput production and analysis of protein and DNA microarrays, devices for analyzing living cells, lab-on-a-chip analysis tools, and numerous detection methods.
My doctoral student Aura-Maria Cardona research involved the developing of automation design guidelines that are unique to biotechnology automation. She graduated in December 2014. Her PhD Dissertation titled “Design Considerations in High-Throughput Automation for Biotechnology Protocols” is available below:
Aura-Maria Cardona & Zvi S. Roth, “Design Considerations in High-Throughput Automation for Biotechnology”, 2008 Florida Conference on Recent Advances in Robotics (FCRAR 2008), Melbourne FL, May 8-9, 2008. (pdf)
Aura-Maria Cardona, Chingping Han and Zvi Roth, “Optimization of Multi-Centrifuge Steps in Biotechnology Automation”, 2009 Florida Conference on Recent Advances in Robotics (FCRAR 2009), Jupiter FL , May 21-22 2009. (pdf)
Aura-Maria Cardona, Zvi Roth and Chingping Han, “Group Technology (GT) Applied to Biotechnology Automation”, 2014 Florida Conference on recent Advances in Robotics (FCRAR 2014), Miami FL, May 2014 (pdf)
Aura-Maria Cardona, Zvi Roth and Chingping Han, “Modular Implementation of Laboratory Unit Operations (LUOs) for Automation of Biotechnology Protocols”, 2014 Florida Conference on recent Advances in Robotics (FCRAR 2014), Miami FL, May 2014
Aura-Maria Cardona, Zvi Roth and Chingping Han, “Queue Clearing and Throughput Enhancement Strategies in Biotechnology Automation”, 2015 Florida Conference on recent Advances in Robotics (FCRAR 2015), Melbourne FL, May 2015